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Themesicon: navigation pathPublic Sphere_sicon: navigation pathPublic Sphere_s
Public Sphere_s
Steve Dietz



In contemporary culture, a number of spheres of activity intersect: speech, art, identity, communications systems, economic and legal regimes. In the so-called public domain, these activities increasingly conflict. This is not necessarily a new development, but with the increasing mediatization and hybrid virtualization of each of these spheres, the boundaries between public, private, commercial and government are in flux. As legal regimes and marketing imperatives adjust to incorporate the new virtual realities, it appears as if these boundaries are being gerrymandered. [1] Nevertheless, ‹digitalness› challenges historic assumptions about scarcity and networks can have an asymmetrical relationship to centralized authority. Many artists are using these ‹tools› to contest, as Krzysztof Wodiczko paraphrases social philosopher Chantal Mouffe, «a new, agonistic concept of public space, which . . . invites and accommodates passion as well as adversarial positions. For her, democracy is not a solution but a process of engaging more actors (and I hope artists as well) in an ongoing energetic discourse in the form of an ‹agon,› that is, a


contest.» [2] «Public Sphere_s» is about these contests, which artists continue to foment to enlarge our understanding and practice of multiple public spheres.

Notions of Public

public address system, public charity, public convenience, public debate, public debt, Public defender, public discussion, public domain, public domain software, public easement, public executioner, public exposure, public eye, public figure, public health, Public Health Service Act, public house, Public Key Infrastructure, public knowledge, public lavatory, Public law, public lecture, public library, public mover, public nudity, public nuisance, public opinion, public opinion poll, public presentation, public press, public property, public prosecutor, public relations, public relations man, public school, public security, public servant, public service, Public Service Commission, public speaker, public speaking, public square, Public Switched Telephone Network, public toilet, public transit, public transport, public treasury, public trust, public utility, public violence, public works, public ally, Publican, publication, Public-hearted, publicise,

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